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Why is public science education vital?

FOR MOST of the Pakistanis science is something to be imposed in school, details of which are quickly forgotten after exams are over. This may be clear, since, unfortunately, the basic science curricula often consists of hard to memorize jargons and lectures about what science has discovered. Since the pace of scientific research is accelerating at a very high speed, the exposure of average citizen to science is increasing. The dilemma of our society is that, public is engaged in scientific issues which have impact on their daily lives without knowing that they are practicing science. Another issue which public must understand is that scientific query and question of science for public understanding are two different questions. The public must also tackle with important public policy questions that must be informed by science. The main question is how can we prepare our people with adequate scientific skills to enable them to develop knowledgeable thoughts about important scientific issues, without enforcing the idealistic expectancy that public be prepared as scientists? This question is separate from the question of how we can continue to produce the leading scientists. The final concern is ultimately the future economic prosperity of the nation. But without an extensive population of “science communicators or appreciators”, sustainable development in both the areas of national investment and implementation of science policy remains threatened. To develop the understanding of science, it is pertinent to popularize science as a logical thinking not only as a subject matter. Learning names for the parts of an organism should be less important for students than to experience the scientific methods, so they can learn the difference of data and speculation, how to draw a question, and how to logically approach a problems solution analytically and skeptically. The public must be able to consider questions within a framework that enables individuals to distinguish science from other propositions. Science education at all levels should focus on creating a society where educated people are prepared to fetch scientific thinking to shoulder on issues that affect them as a common citizen. Scientists can play a key role in the engagement of the public in science marking their lives. We need scientists in every field to popularize science in the society. We need science at a public level understanding. We urge “scientists” to become opinion leaders and policymakers. When people who have science experience become journalists, filmmakers and public servants, they bring accuracy and scientific thinking to their work, and positively encourage others to do the same. If a scientist cannot elucidate to a young teenager what he does and what is the application of her/his work relevant to the child, the scientific culture can`t be established. The public sector investment on scientific research is directly dependent on our investment in the general public engagement in science. We must persistently and clearly aware the general public about what science is and is not, and how it benefits the common citizen. The development of basic to applied science to beneficial technologies, or, in medical science, from cellular to clinical research to valuable disease cures and preventions, depends on level of understanding of the general public. We must involve the public in the challenges offered by science to catch their vision and confidence, and to increase their fundamental backing. Since most of the heads of science organizations working under the banner of Ministry of Science and Technology have taken charge of their organizations, this is probably the best chance and most appropriate time to influence how general public identifies science and what it comprehends about science, and how we can convert their knowledge into economic activity.

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